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CardShark Content - Marcus Anderson (7/20/2001)

Draft. Draft. Draft. I wanted out of magic, but drafting kept me in the
game. After I sold everything (except for my few common decks), I
played in some drafts and accumulated some cards. Sell-able
rares, questionable uncommons, and a pile of commons were filling
my empty trade binders and storage boxes. I got rid of everything
around Masques block, and I started drafting heavily during Invasion
block.

I found with Card-Shark’s excellent system, I could unload a pile of
cards. However, during this mass unloading I made a disturbing
revelation; Wizards of the Coast has made the most marketable set
ever! My Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
cards are flying off the site! My Invasrion and
Planeshift cards are collecting dust, but they have at least moved
more than the random Nemesis and Mercadian Masques cards that I
still have in my collection. Let’s not even talk about Prophecy
Prophecy
ProphecySet: Homelands
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Reveal the top card of target opponent's library to all players. If it is a land, gain 1 life. That opponent then shuffles his or her library. Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep.
! Those
cards aren’t moving at all!

Could it be that Wizards is doing something right by making a set that
people want? Or is it that Wizards is looking at what would sell the
most, and then they market a set to have the cards available. The
results are not conclusive, but I feel there may be some unethical
hands at work to make you spend your hard-earned money!

First off, I want to rant on the state of some of the staple cards in the
current type 2 environment. Wizards has always treated good
removal as an uncommon or rare. Take Hurricane
Hurricane
HurricaneSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dameon Willich
Text:
All players and flying creatures suffer X damage.
or Desert
Desert
DesertSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Text:
Tap to add 1 colorless mana to your mana pool or do 1 damage to an attacking creature after it deals its damage.
twister,
for example. Those cards were good utility, but too powerful for the
common slot. Both were made uncommon, and Hurricane
Hurricane
HurricaneSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dameon Willich
Text:
All players and flying creatures suffer X damage.
is now a
rare card in Seventh Edition. Now look at every set in general, where
is all of the good removal? They are all in the uncommon slot (with
the exception of Terminate
Terminate
TerminateSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Text:
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.
which I will address later). So why did
Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
get into the rare slot?

My answer to that question: to sell packs! This card is very good for
decks that can use it. I wish I knew if the R&D team had originally
slated this card for the rare slot, or if WOTC decided to push it into the
rare slot! It doesn’t make sense that Terminate
Terminate
TerminateSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Text:
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.
is a common, and
Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
is a rare. Technically speaking, red and black are more
kindred than white and black. Therefore, Terminate
Terminate
TerminateSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Text:
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.
is much more
viable and useful. What other cards can white and black decks use?

Let’s look at the list of white and black cards that are really useful.
Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
, U3BlY3RyYWwgLynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
, Death Grasp
Death Grasp
Death GraspSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
95
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Death Grasp deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
, Gerrard
Gerrard
GerrardSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
2
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
-4
Toughness:
+0
Text:
During your draw phase, draw an additional card.
’s Verdict, and
Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
. Wow! Those are all great cards, and they have amazing
synergy! If you get four of each and put them in the same deck, they
would be pretty good, right? You betcha! Invasion Block
Constructed is full of these decks. Gee, it sure was nice to have
almost all of them rare! Have the prices gone up on the above
mentioned cards? Most definitely.

Let’s continue looking at the black and white deck. What else goes
really well in that deck? Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian ArenaSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
47
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.
and the Caves of Koilos
Caves of Koilos
Caves of KoilosSet: Apocalypse
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
140
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
TAP: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. TAP: Add W or B to your mana pool. Caves of Koilos deals 1 damage to you.
are
really nice additions. Guess what? More rares to collect and buy. Is
Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
a giant pre-constructed deck in the disguise of a booster
pack?

Step 1: Open a box of Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
boosters
Step 2: Put all of the card combinations together
Step 3: Throw out all of the chaff

Presto! You have an amazing deck in the making. Has this ever
happened before? Say it with me, ´´Replenish
Replenish
ReplenishSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
15
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Return all enchantment cards from your graveyard to play. (Local enchantments with no permanent to enchant remain in your graveyard.)
´´. No shots against
Mark Rosewater, I met him during the Unglued tournaments at Gen
Con and he was super cool. Unfortunately, it was another period in
my Magic life when a pile of rares were making the best deck. Sadly,
outside of the deck itself, the cards were not very playable. Parallax
cards had some outside uses in Ankh of Mishra
Ankh of Mishra
Ankh of MishraSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Ankh does 2 damage to anyone who puts a new land into play.
decks, but for the
most part, everyone was scrambling for the rare cards to use and
abuse.

This brings me back to my point. The latest set shows a disturbing
trend towards marketing. Look at all of the rares in Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
. Not
too many stinker cards in rare slots (well, the volvers aren’t that
great). I understand the Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
and the Spiritmonger
Spiritmonger
SpiritmongerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Glen Angus
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Whenever Spiritmonger deals damage to a creature, put a +1/+1 counter on Spiritmonger. B: Regenerate Spiritmonger. G: Spiritmonger becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
rare
cards, but couldn’t the rest be uncommon as in the Invasion set?

Let’s look at Invasion. The new dual lands are uncommon. That’s a
surprising move. However, the counterspells are rare! When were
counterspells ever rare? Mana Drain
Mana Drain
Mana DrainSet: Legends
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
Counters target spell. At the beginning of your next main phase, add X to your mana pool, where X is the casting cost of target spell.
and Force of Will
Force of Will
Force of WillSet: Alliances
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
You may pay 1 life and remove a blue card in your hand from the game instead of paying Force of Will's casting cost. Effects that prevent or redirect damage cannot be used to counter this loss of life. Counter target spell.
are arguably
the most powerful counter-magic in the game. Were they rare?
Nope. UNCOMMON! The trend of the current counter-wars in magic
are reserved to the wealthy that can afford the Absorb
Absorb
AbsorbSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
226
Artist:
Andrew Goldhawk
Text:
Counter target spell. You gain 3 life.
and
Undermine
Undermine
UndermineSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
282
Artist:
Massimilano Frezzato
Text:
Counter target spell. Its controller loses 3 life.
.

Why was Sligh so popular? It was easier to play, and cheap! Kids
could raid their common boxes, grab all of the burn and goblins, and
make a great deck. I remember kids winning tournaments without
Cursed Scroll
Cursed Scroll
Cursed ScrollSet: Oversize Cards
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
X
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
3, T:Name a card. Target opponent chooses a card at random from your hand. If he or she chooses the named card, Cursed Scoll deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
s. What did they use instead? Fireblast
Fireblast
FireblastSet: Visions
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Michael Danza
Text:
You may sacrifice two mountains instead of paying Fireblast's casting cost. Fireblast deals 4 damage to target creature or player.
! The Tempest
era was so fun because the most expensive decks weren’t the most
consistent. Hatred
Hatred
HatredSet: Exodus
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
64
Artist:
Brom
Text:
Pay X life: Target creature gets +X/+0 until end of turn.
and Suicide Black were as cheap as Sligh, and
the decks depended on the player, not the wallet.

So what does the new Sligh player need? Well, mono-red isn’t that
great, so you need to play Fires. It is easy to play, and has a lot of
game winning situations. Is it cheap to build? No way! Better save
up for those Urza
Urza
UrzaSet: Vanguard
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
7
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
-1
Toughness:
+10
Text:
3: Urza deals one damage to target creature or player.
’s Rage (rare burn? Whatever), Ghitu Fire
Ghitu Fire
Ghitu FireSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
144
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
You may play Ghitu Fire any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Ghitu Fire deals X damage to target creature or player.
(more
rare burn), Shivan Wurm
Shivan Wurm
Shivan WurmSet: Planeshift
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wurm
Rarity:
R
Number:
124
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Power:
7
Toughness:
7
Text:
Trample. When Shivan Wurm comes into play, return a red or green creature you control to its owner's hand.
, Saproling
Saproling
SaprolingSet: Phyrexia vs. The Coalition
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Saproling
Rarity:
C
Number:
3
Artist:
Warren Mahy
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
IEJ1cnN0, Skizzik
Skizzik
SkizzikSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
R
Number:
169
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
5
Toughness:
3
Text:
Kicker R (You may pay an additional R as you play this spell.)Trample; haste (This creature may attack and T the turn it comes under your control.)At end of turn, sacrifice Skizzik unless the kicker cost was paid.
, and Birds of
Paradise. In addition a good fires deck will run four Rishadan Port
Rishadan Port
Rishadan PortSet: Mercadian Masques
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
324
Artist:
Jerry Tiritilli
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.1, T: Tap target land.
s.
Now they have us buying four $15 rare lands not to mention all those
red/green pain lands and City of Brass
City of Brass
City of BrassSet: Fifth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Tom Wänerstrand
Text:
Whenever City of Brass becomes tapped, it deals 1 damage to you.T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
. It is pretty sad that most all
type two decks are well over $100 in retail price. That’s a lot to the
casual player.

I guess that’s why I draft. If I built a $250 deck, I would want that
sucker to win every game! Don’t try to give me the mumbo jumbo
about luck and random nature. I JUST SPENT $250 AND I WANT TO
WIN, DARNIT! Well, that may be an unhealthy attitude, but can you
see that it can be frustrating to people who want a casual, but
competitive game?

Well, the damage is done, and IBC is a great format (if you can afford
it). Type 2 would be fun if they banned Fires! I hope in the future that
they balance marketing considerations with the playability and
affordability of the game. Even though I may have ruffled some
feathers in the WOTC world, I am just a casual player wanting to
spend a little less money on my tournament decks.

I guess I’ll get back to the drafting table…


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